Recently I discussed ways we could reduce, reuse and recycle with Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi students. Here’s a summary of what we came up with:
1. How can I reduce electricity?
– Turn off the lights when not using them.
– Get roof windows to get more natural light.
– Use LED lights.
– Go to bed earlier.
– Use a fan instead of an air-conditioner.
– Keep less food in the fridge.
– Not leave a computer in “sleep” mode over 1 hour. If not using it for over an hour, shut it down.
– Set the air-conditioner to 27 or 28 degrees Celsius.
2. How can I reduce air pollution?
– Use a bicycle or a train instead of a car.
– With cars, switch from an internal combustion engine to a hybrid or electric engine.
3. How can I reduce garbage?
– Use both sides of paper.
-Use the back side of flyers as note paper.
-Reuse (see section “REUSE”).
4. How can I reduce water use?
– Reuse clean bath water by using it to fill up the washing machine and do the first part of the washing cycle.
-Reuse clean bath water by using it twice for bathing instead of only once.
– Collect and use rain water to water flowers.
What can I reuse?
– Small PET bottles.
– Convenience store plastic spoons and forks.
– Batteries by recharging them.
– Plastic bags.
– Clothes by giving it to relatives or others.
– Clothes by making rags for cleaning out of them, some of which can be reused again.
– Glass pudding containers.
– Newspapers to wrap fragile things we send by postal mail.
– Disposable chopsticks for kids to practice holding chopsticks.
– Toothbrushes for cleaning.
– Clean saran wrap.
– Desks as tables to put flower vases on.
– Bath water.
– Plastic bottles (including PET bottles) and their caps.
– Aluminum and steel cans.
– Glass bottles and jars.
– Metal pots.
Great ideas by my students of English in Tsukaguchi. Cities such as Amagasaki have their own garbage separation rules for recyclable garbage which we simply follow for recycling. Reducing and reusing are, in contrast, not mandatory so they require effort and some thought on our part. However with simple changes in habits they’re usually easy to do and can save us some money. For me, the true reward in doing them is knowing that I’m doing my part to help the planet which we all share.